When Ends The Age

When the age of dragons came to an end and the age of man rose on the horizon of time like a fledgling sun, the dying lords of Ice, Fire, Water and Earth came together at the crux of the world one final time to discuss their last act as a coven of scales, an act which would consume the last of their waning time and all of the frayed magicks that still held sway in the lands that would soon belong to man.

“Let there be eight tears.” Said Rayfnawg, lord of Fire and the deeps. “One from each eye here present. Two of Ice, two of Fire, two of Water and two of Earth. Let them become as glass or cut stone, alive with the memories of what once was, let each be cast separate, but let their reuniting stand as a herald of the end of man and the return of dragons.”

“Let them be cast separate and kept separate, then.” Said Zkashff, lord of Water and the sea. “The age of dragons wanes; the age of man waxes. Let them have their time.”

“Then let them be given to eight priests among men.” Said Sfzyzhhi, lord of Ice and air. “So that they might decide their own fate and herald their own ending at the time of their choosing.”

“And if they should never choose to yield the world back up to we who have come before?” Rumbled Gretbhrug, lord of Earth and nature.

“Then let the tears find their way into other hands when the time is right;” Rayfnawg blazed. “let their clutching priests fall, let them sicken and die, let them be robbed of their valuables and in each turn lose their grip on their tears. Let the tears travel quick through an underground wary of curses until at last they find their way together, reunited in hands eager for a turn of the world.”

“Let it be done.” Nodded Zkashff. With one great talon, she separated from her eye a single tear, blew gently upon it and let it turn to glass on the tip of her claw. “I offer the first tear in full agreement with the terms here spoken.”

“As do I.” Whispered Sfzyzhhi, offering a tear of her own. “Let the magicks sealed herein run their course as spoken here today.”

“Let the age of man rise and prosper, but ultimately yield for another age of dragons.” Cracked Gretbhrug, breathing upon his own tear. “Change is an element of all things in nature. Let it not be absent here.”

Only Rayfnawg hesitated, the lord of fire watching the tiny mote of flame that was his tear as it danced upon the tip of his talon. As the other lords looked up in question, he enclosed the tiny tear within his great hands, peered in across scaly flesh at it.

“With all the magicks in the world at our disposal, we could halt the age of man for many more ages. We could burn the ropes of time and live forever in the now of the world, truly immortal and unbeholden to the cycle of ages. We could part with nature and weave the fabric of a new age of dragons, one which will wax on forever without end.”

“One cannot keep the forces of nature at bay forever.” Zkashff said. “Eventually even our magicks would erode and the age of man would come, though the age of dragons might then never come again. It is better this way.”

“Ages only become great when there is movement, a cycling between them.” Sfzyzhhi said. “Wonder and beauty are stifled by stagnation and an unchanging world. An age without movement would be no age at all.”

“As saddened as I am to part with nature and the Earth for so long an age, death is no less a part of nature than it is a part of life.” Gretbhrug drew another tear from his stony eye, breathed it into existence as a gem lit from within by all the beauty of nature. “Come, brother Rayfnawg. It is time to move beyond this place and rest. Let man take his age upon the earth until he has become as old and still as we have. Then we may return, as fresh and young as the spring.”

Rayfnawg stared at his fiery tear for a moment longer and then nodded, breathing into it all of the promise that was to come. “Let it be so.” He said, and as each in turn drew and breathed upon their second tear, they whispered. “Let it be so.”

- - -


Author's note: A previous version of this story appeared as an opening piece for the launch of one of my magazines-- Yesteryear Fiction. I hope you enjoy! :)

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